First computer used: either an Apple IIc or IIe located in the elementary
school's 'computer lab', or a TRS-80 my father (a math teacher) borrowed
from the high school. I was the only one in the school
who ever beat the
History Mystery Mansion (or some similar name) game on the
First computer owned: an 8086 PC clone mutt built by some guy who ran a
computer store in a nearby town. It had an IBM 5.25" full-height 10MB
hard drive, 512K RAM, CGA graphics, a color monitor, and a dot-matrix
printer. It came with DOS 3.3. Later, it was upgraded with a 286
motherboard, more memory, a sound card, a 1200 baud modem, and a handheld
scanner. I sold it long ago to a lady in another nearby town.
First language learned: TRS-80 BASIC Level II
First compiler used: Microsoft QuickC 2.5
First program used by people: two very similar programs EnrollDB and
LEADB, that I wrote for the local school district in the 7th grade. They
were first written in MS-DOS QBASIC (ewww!) and then re-written in C later
that year. EnrollDB was an enrollment database and report generator, and
LEADB was the same thing, but with special features for the special
education department. LEADB had to generate files in a certain format for
submission to the DoE. Both of these were no doubt atrocious programs,
but for a completely self-taught 7th grader, they were masterpieces.
Having no idea of the plethora of algorithms out there, I developed from
scratch the bubble sort, and was very proud of it. I used it to sort the
database in each program, and each swap was done by moving records around
in the database file. Alphabetizing a list of 400 students took about an
hour! I hope those programs aren't still in use...
First experience with the Internet: see below.
First contact with UNIX: using FTP over e-mail from a BBS with a newly
acquired Internet email gateway. I lived outside of the OKC LATA, and
that particular BBS was the only one I had access to, as it had a
toll-free number. I now brag to my friends that I'm cool because I was
'on the net' before the existence of the WWW.
Jeffrey S. Sharp